The same hackers who had leaked the private emails of Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton have now allegedly leaked First Lady Michelle Obama's passport, along with a cache of mundane White House emails.
On Sept. 22, the website D.C. Leaks released the emails of White House staffer Ian Mellul. Among the materials was an alleged copy of Obama’s passport.
D.C. Leaks asserted that they had committed the leaks in order to draw attention to the security weaknesses of the White House.
“The leaked files show the security level of our government,” the hackers wrote in an email to reporters, according to U.S. News & World Report.
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“If terrorists hack emails of White House Office staff and get such sensitive information we will see the fall of our country,” the hackers continued. “We hope you will tell the people about this criminal negligence of White House Officers staffers."
D.C. Leaks stated that it had targeted Mellul after identifying him as a White House staffer through his LinkedIn account. The materials they have released allegedly came from his Gmail account.
The leaked emails do not contain any sensational revelations but are instead the mundane correspondence of an office space. Mellul helps coordinate First Lady Obama’s press appearances, so his email cache largely contains logistics.
Mellul has since deleted both his LinkedIn and Twitter accounts.
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White House press secretary Josh Earnest declined to confirm whether or not the materials were authentic.
“We take any reports about a cyber breach seriously, particularly if it contains some sensitive information,” Earnest said, according to The Hill. “Certainly, this is something we are taking a close look at.”
Secret Service spokesperson Nicole Mainor confirmed that the agency would look into the matter.
“Obviously the Secret Service is concerned any time unauthorized information that might pertain to one of the individuals we protect, or our operations, is allegedly disclosed,” Mainor said.
The authenticity of the materials -- particularly Obama’s passport -- has been called into question. The formatting of the released passport does not measure up to State Department requirements and also contains an incorrect expiration date, according to tech website Gizmodo.
D.C. Leaks has billed itself as a group of American hackers, but U.S. officials have accused the website of being operated by Russian intelligence agencies in an attempt to influence the 2016 presidential election.